The Emporia Gazette ran a feature story on Libertarian Jeff Caldwell’s bid for governor of Kansas. Here, we excerpt from the article, “Caldwell favors legal cannabis, small government,” by Lydia Kautz (July 17, 2018):
Libertarian candidate for Governor Jeff Caldwell grew up in the Kansas City area and has spent almost his entire life there.
He said he became a libertarian in 2010, about four years after a series of videos detailing government corruption helped sway his political belief system.
A fourth generation Kansan, Caldwell said his family has a history of taking part in small businesses and he has branched out into sales. He knows what he intends to do if elected.
“The first thing that I will do is pardon all non-violent cannabis offenses,” he said. “I believe I’m the only candidate that has publicly stated this.”
Caldwell said he believes this will benefit Kansas monetarily, as he said the state is spending roughly $20 million annually to prosecute these offenders and keep them incarcerated.
“That would help with our budget crisis, and we need to look at legalization of cannabis,” he said. “I know that I personally won’t be able to do that as governor, but I will actually work with both sides of the aisle in order to bring a bill to my desk.”
Caldwell said he’s running with hopes of cutting government spending. He wants to cut taxes — namely, he wants to abolish the sales tax on food and water and lower taxes on private property.
“We are in a deficit crisis,” he said. “The state has actually borrowed money the past three budgets including this past cycle in order to cover the budget gap. I will be looking at the cronyism, the backdoor deals that happen within the state with corporations. So we need to end the corruption that has occurred from the government growing too big with the big corporations. We also need to stop back-scratching politicians.”
What this implies, to Caldwell, is getting elected officials to work for their constituents instead of themselves.
“A lot of politicians don’t vote for a certain bill because they don’t get a certain cut of the check,” he said. “And I think that’s corruption as well. So I’m running to abolish the corruption within government. It sounds astronomically difficult — which it probably is — and it’s something that may be idealistic. However, we need to do it.”
Caldwell feels he’s the only person running right now who has spoken adequately about cutting taxes and spending.
He also intends, if elected, to issue an executive order and legislation to prevent the state from discriminating against LGBTQ people.
“I don’t think the state has a right to discriminate against anybody,” Caldwell said.
He believes his platform and the stance of the Libertarian party represent the views of most of the people who would become his constituents.
“I have four planks that make me a complete package that represents most Kansans — cutting government spending, cutting taxes, legalizing cannabis and defending the second amendment,” Caldwell said.
He feels he can bridge the widening gap between the two sides of the aisle.
“I will support both sides, but only if it brings more prosperity and liberty to Kansans and the United States,” Caldwell said. “There are a few things both Republicans and Democrats agree on.”
These include, he said, abolishing civil asset forfeiture and sales tax on food and water. Even on issues where there is disagreement, Caldwell feels he can encourage cooperation.
“You’ve got to look at all angles of each issue instead of begin black and white,” he said. “There are gray issues.”
Caldwell, who ran in 2014 for the District 36 seat of the Kansas house of representatives, faces four opponents in the 2018 governor’s race: one Democrat, one Republican, and two independents.
Nationwide, approximately 800 Libertarian candidates are offering voters bold Libertarian solutions in the election this fall. Learn more about these candidates.